In August 2018 Barbara Weeks (83) came to the Hospice for symptom control. She was so delighted that from her room she could see a lovely Hydrangea much like the ones her husband Ivor grew at home. When her son Martin visited, she was quite surprised to learn that it was in fact one from their own garden. Twenty-six years earlier, when the Hospice was being built, Martin had been volunteering with the Rotary Club of Maidstone Dawn Patrol to establish the Hospice Garden. He had taken one of the cuttings that Ivor had cultivated to plant there. The Hospice garden provides a haven of peace and tranquillity for patients and their families. Over the years Martins’ gift of time and the plant have brought much joy to patients and their families.

Ivor said “I cannot praise the hospice enough! They provided such great care for Barbara and helped me enormously too. We took much pride in seeing the hydrangea as it is today and the pleasure it will give to patients and families for many years to come” Despite being keen to get home, Barbara was so pleased to have spent her two weeks looking at the beautiful gardens from her bedroom window, and the hydrangea that her son had taken from their own garden many years before.

We were able to get pictures of Ivor and Barbara in the garden and send them to their daughter in New Zealand. She replied saying, “Thank you to all the wonderful staff who have taken such good care of my Mum and given her the opportunity to go home. My father has done nothing but rave about the beautiful people who have worked so tirelessly to provide such support. As I live in NZ it has been a particularly fraught time but hearing his spirits so lifted this week in our nightly phone calls has been a joy. Thank you doesn’t seem to touch the sides.”

As Barbara’s symptoms improved Ivor, Martin and the Hospice Nurses put plans in place for her to go home, this included pain management, on-going care and support. They also helped to organise transport home, a hospital bed and other aids which all made life at home much more comfortable.

Martin said “Mum really wanted to stay at home and had resisted any move to the Hospice, but at the point we most needed help the short stay there was so special and made a huge difference to us all. The care provided to not only Mum, but Dad and I as well was fantastic and the dedication of the Hospice Doctor and staff truly amazing. Once her medication was under control, her condition remarkably improved, she was able to achieve her wish and returned home – once home the Hospice care continued with regular visits and phone calls. It was a great comfort to know that I could always call the Hospice Team and talk through any queries or concerns. I cannot thank the Hospice team enough for everything they did for us.”

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